Meet the Discussion Team
Forum Leader - Rebecca Koehn
Greetings! I’m Rebecca Koehn, currently from Cimarron, Kansas, but also a resident of the Internet through my blog Dust off the Bookshelf – It’s all about the read. I grew up in small midwestern towns in Kansas. Throughout my childhood when I was in trouble my parents would ground me from reading. Now, before you judge them for this, I must confess that I did read A LOT. This habit kept me from doing many of the things I should do, like chores, and obeying my parent’s instructions. Also, it really was one of the few things they could take away from me that was a punishment (I often hid books in the towel cabinet in the bathroom so I could get a chapter in on ‘bathroom breaks’). They did not use this same tack with my brother and sister who were very different from me and had to be grounded from…other things.
I was a good student. I won’t claim to be a straight A student through high school; I did enjoy a social life enough that grades weren’t my first priority. But I did well. I was a library aid in high school, loved forensics, and English was always my favorite subject.
College led to an English major, and in my junior year I decided to pick up a teaching license so that I could get a job more easily right after graduation. I ended up using that license and taught English, speech, and coached forensics in a Jr/Sr High School.
After I married (a wonderful man…who also likes reading) and started a family I left teaching full-time to stay home and finish my masters. I now have two beautiful boys who have reintroduced me to the beauty of picture books and children’s stories.
I am a stay-at-home mom, but I do teach an adult ESL class at our local community college a couple of nights a week. It is a busy life, but I still carve a big chunk out for reading.
As many readers do, I’ve gone through different seasons of reading. There was a time in life when I read mostly romance, or mystery, or thrillers. As I’ve gotten older my tastes have matured and changed. I am quite eclectic in my choices now. Also, I’ve begun to enjoy nonfiction genres a great deal more than I ever did in youth. All of this reading background and experience I bring to bear here. I hope that we can share our love and experience in reading together, and find a way to connect and grow.
One more thing…I am not a reviewer. When I write about books, I am simply talking about them. Sure, I will tell you whether I liked them or not, but I don’t approach writing about them the way a reviewer would. I am a book talker. That’s why I’m looking forward to meeting you at the HPPR Radio Readers Book Club Forum where we can discuss your thoughts an opinions about the books we’ve selected for the 2016 Spring Read A Sense of Place. See you soon at www.hpprradioreaders.org .
Discussion Leader - Plainsong
I am Jane Holwerda, the book discussion leader for Plainsong, the first book in our 2016 Spring Read A Sense of Place. As a Kansas Humanities TALK leader, I’ve facilitated discussions with book clubs throughout western Kansas since 2008, but this is my first on-air, on-line book club, so I’m looking forward to exploring ways to discuss the book with you. I’m currently Division Chair of Humanities and English professor at Dodge City Community College where I teach various levels of composition, creative writing, and literature, including American literature online for EduKan. I hold a doctorate in American Studies from Saint Louis University (Missouri) and have published short fiction, essays and poetry in various journals and anthologies, including Cottonwood, Hurricane Review, MacGuffin, Red River Review, Sou’wester, South Loop Review, The Langdon Review; Guilty Pleasures, Out of Line, and Elegant Rage.
For the purposes of the book discussion, I want you to know that I’m you – I love reading, writing and teaching, but I also love hiking the High Plains, overwatering my coreopsis and gallardia and – yes, sitting with cats! I grew up in central Kansas in Lindsborg, a small town with a profound sense of its Swedish heritage, but I’m a southwestern Kansan by choice in another small town with a profound sense of place – Dodge City! I look forward to book-clubbing with you about Haruf’s Plainsong.